Utah Jazz: Ranking the 5 best potential lineups in 2021-22

Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gay (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz 5th best potential lineup:  PG: Mike Conley SG: Donovan Mitchell SF: Joe Ingles PF: Bojan Bogdanovic C: Rudy Gay

The presence of a lineup featuring Rudy Gay in the middle so early in this list may infer to readers that there still exist several Gobert anchored lineups that project as better options for regular usage for the Utah Jazz.

Readers may be wise to trust their own inferences in that regard.

Still, this lineup has the potential to be ultra-effective in the appropriate doses. Obviously, since this group has not played even a single minute together, we do not have any data to track their performance from last season. What we can do, however, is at least look at their expected collective three-point volume and accuracy based on each player’s performance from last season.

Utah Jazz small ball lineup: 3 point shooting

Mike Conley Jr: 41.2 3P%, 6.6 3PA

Donovan Mitchell: 38.6 3P%, 8.7 3PA

Joe Ingles: 45.1 3P%, 6.1 3PA 

Bojan Bogdanovic: 39 3P%, 6.4 3PA 

Rudy Gay: 38.1 3P%, 4.4 3PA 

That’s an expected 40.4% accuracy on 32.2 attempts-per-48 minutes. That is, frankly, incredible.

Obviously, several caveats apply here. Those projections are based on last year’s marks from each player, and three-point shooting can be volatile in nature. Furthermore, we don’t know that this particular lineup would function so effectively that each player in it would hit their peak levels.

We know precious little about this lineup, because the Utah Jazz have not had the opportunity to field it. We do, on the other hand, know that all five of these players can shoot effectively from range. We also know, per CleaningtheGlass, that a San Antonio Spurs lineup featuring Rudy Gay last season ranked in the 97th percentile in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions.

That doesn’t tell us how Gay fares as a small ball center either: Spurs coach Greg Popovich opted not to use the veteran forward in that manner last season. It does, however, tell us that Gay was probably effective in closing-out three-point attempts, which would be his primary defensive responsibility as a small ball 5 for the Utah Jazz.

After all, if the opposing team isn’t running a three-point threat at the 5 spot, we’re likely to continue seeing Rudy Gobert in the lineup.